instagramSo recently I decided to start taking Instagram a little more seriously. I wanted further my reach and connect with some new and interesting photographers.  The biggest and best community is by far JJ.  Instagram has much more going on community wise than meets the eye. There are lots of professional and hobbyist photographers who take the social network a little more seriously than posting pictures of their dinner with a crap filter over it that was picked at random. My favorite Instagram community by far is the JJ community. There are many sub communities for different styles/themes of photographs but this will cover the main JJ community. This is one of the original and the biggest Instagram communities.  It has helped rekindle some interest in actually get outside and shooting.

How does it work?

The community was created by Josh Johnson and he posts a different theme daily. Some example would be “yellow and blue”, “stairs” and “notforsquares”.  Everyday the theme is posted in the morning around 9am NYC Time (EST -5hrs) with it’s respective hashtag.  Leave a comment on any of your own photos you wish to submit and then JJ and his team of editors/moderators select images they like and feature them on their own accounts of course linking the credit back to the creator.  The community side of things comes with JJ’s only rule, the 1-2-3 rule.  This means that for every 1 photo you submit you need to comment on 2, and like 3 other photos submitted to that days theme.

Commenting has been my favorite means of engaging with others in the community and have lead to some more followers.  If you want your comment to actually accomplish anything then please make it worth reading and prompt further engagement.  Sure a ‘great shot’ comment is still nice but come on, that’s really not contributing much. Try asking a question or pointing out something about the photo you think makes it a strong photograph.

Accept a Challenge

One thing I like to do when at all possible is shoot something new for the day’s theme. With the weather warming up here in NYC this gives me a good reason to get out and shoot for a bit when I otherwise might not have.  Also as a hobbyist photographer it helps to have some constraints to look for new things.  One has a much different mentality when in the mindset of “Today I am going out to take photos of chairs in black and white” versus any other day of “I am gonna go walk around and see if anything stand out as a good photograph.”  This way of shooting is how the pros and photojournalists go out and shoot because they have assignments which they must shoot for.  Give it a try and look at it as a way to challenge and further your skills as a photographer.

Also keep in mind that people only want to see the best photos on Instagram.  So I curate mine very carefully and deleted a lot of the old bad snapshots. Check out my instagram and you’ll see there are no food shots or selfies!